Thursday, November 10, 2011

First, Do No Harm

We are not doctors, but I love the idea of “First, Do No Harm” for working with dealers.  Even though that phrase is the common, but incorrect, quote of the Hippocratic Oath for Physicians, it still conveys a lot for the proper doctor/patient relationship—and it also means a lot for vendor/dealer, consultant/dealer, and even blogger/dealer relationships.  And, so, I’m establishing it here as the cornerstone of a vendor/consultant/blogger creed for working with dealers.
When any of us (peers, dealers, vendors, consultants, etc.) are working with, critiquing, or advising dealers—or even affecting the readers on this and other online forums by what we write—we need to remember up front to not over-state and/or overreact:  Help for a hangnail shouldn’t be amputation!  Not even for a frantic, and possibly hypochondriac, patient. 
Next, we need to remember that the “patient/doctor confidentiality” from medicine goes a long way towards the trust we also need in place to really help a dealer--so neither a minor outing nor “going tabloid” on a dealer issue to the public (especially online) will do anything to help that dealer and may in fact hurt.  The “facts” online for dealers are all too often a frustrating mix of good and bad information already, and singling out particulars (even wrong ones) in public--even if you mean well!--can just lead to a cascade of bad feelings mixed with possibly-damaging SEO effects:  For example, customers should NOT be able to search a dealer and find links on SERP 1 pointing to automotive professionals writing negatively about the dealer.  Or on any searchable page, for that matter.
So, as a simple reminder to all that, Shetterly’s Creed is hereby founded for vendors, consultants, and bloggers in the automotive professional space:  First, do no harm; second, seek to fairly assist as can be agreed; third, deliver on what you promise.

by Keith Shetterly,
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved

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